888 offers special dividend after strong performance

Online casino and online poker firm 888 reported a thirteen per cent increase in revenue and offered a one-off special dividend in what it described as an exceptional year.

Online casino and online poker firm 888 reported a thirteen per cent increase in revenue and offered a one-off special dividend in what it described as an exceptional year.

Revenue increased to $376m in the year ended December 31st 2012 from $331m the year before. Adjusted EBITDA for the period increased 20% to $67m.

B2C Revenue increased 16% to $330m while adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 17.8% from 16.8% the year before.

A final dividend of 4.5 cents per ordinary share per the group's payout ratio has been reinstated and due to strong performance the board has recommended an additional one-off dividend of 2.0 cents per share, bringing the total dividend per share for the year to 9.0 cents per share.

CEO Brian Mattingley commented: "2012 was an exceptional year for 888. The ongoing focus on our core strengths and the customer proposition, coupled with the very positive effects of our targeted marketing campaigns, has led to tremendous growth in player numbers and record results."

"Our performance in Spain and Italy indicates that we have a compelling offering marketed in such a way that we are able to build significant market share in newly regulating territories, something that places us in a very exciting position as the US market begins to open for business."

As at December 31st 2012, 888 had 13.1m Casino, Poker and Sport real money registered customer accounts, representing an increase of 23% from the same time a year earlier.

888 said it had made significant market share built in Spain following award of Spanish eGaming Licence in June 2012.

In January it extended its relationship with Caesars to power a number of their poker brands including the "WSOP" into the US, once regulated. Other strategic agreements include one with Facebook to launch real-money products and WMS in the US.

The group said current trading has continued to be strong in the new fiscal year across all key performance indicators including new customer recruitment, deposits and bets.

Average daily revenue during the quarter until March 9th was up 8% from the same period last year, led by Casino and Poker. Bingo trading conditions continue to be challenging as are the current currency headwinds.

Mattingley added: "Led by the long-awaited re-opening of the US market, from which we are uniquely well placed to benefit, 2013 is a year of significant opportunity and we have got the right deals in place, both B2B and B2C, to gain a substantial foothold in the US."

"Growth in mobile gaming is also changing the industry, and our efforts in 2012 have allowed us to take advantage of the new ways in which people wish to play. We expect to see further growth in this area in 2013 and thus we remain confident in the outlook for 2013 and beyond."

CJ

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